8 Charles Cotton, Translator Of Hobbes's De cive

I

The English translation of Hobbes's De cive was entered in the register of the Stationers' Company by the bookseller Richard Royston on 7 November 1650 under the title The true citizen or, the Elements of philosophy

c.1 At some time during the following four months, the work was printed: Thomason's copy, in the British Library, is marked 'March 12 1650' (that is, 1651). 2 The printed title page bore a long title beginning Philosophicall Rudiments concerning Government and Society; it described the work simply as 'By tho: hobbes'. And in most of the surviving copies of this edition (including Thomason's), the engraved title page bears an almost identical title, Philosophicall Rudiments concerning Goverment and Civill Society, and also describes the work as 'By Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury'. These copies of the book do not contain any reference to a translator; largely by default, therefore, some writers on Hobbes in the past tended to assume that the translation was by Hobbes himself. 3

Such an assumption was also encouraged by a reading of a passage in Aubrey's 'brief life' of Edmund Waller:

I have heard him [Waller] say, that he so much admired Mr T. Hobbes booke de Cive when it came forth, that he was very desirous to haue it donne into English; and Mr Hobbes was most willing it should be donne by Mr Wallers hand, for that he was so great a Master of our English language; Mr Waller freely promised him to doe it, but first he would desire Mr Hobbes to make an essay, & he did the first booke: and did it so extremely well, that Mr Waller would not meddle with it, for that no body els could doe

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